Lawyers Reduce Evictions, Or Maybe It’s The Economy…

Mayor de Blasio, this week, bragged that increased City spending had increased the number of tenants represented by lawyers in Housing Court from 1% in 2013 to 27% in 2015. The report he based the claim on, however, also noted several past studies–all using different methodologies–that found that 10-24 percent of tenants in Housing Court typically had attorneys. The Mayor also said legal assistance had helped bring the number of evictions down from 28,000 in 2013 to 22,000 in 2013…but did not note that the number of evictions was also about 22,000 in 2005, 2004, 2001 and many prior years per Rent Guidelines Board studies.

The Department of Finance has started issuing fines of up to $100,000 against property owners who failed to file 2015 RPIE forms by June 1st. Fines start at $300 for property assessed at less than $100,000 and cap out at values over $25 million. More than 5,000 buildings are being cited in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island, although some, reportedly, are listed in error.

The formal planning process for the Mayor’s proposed upzoning of the Jerome Avenue corridor in the Bronx began this week. The Department of City Planning projects the rezoning could lead to 3,250 new apartments in the 73 block area.

Another 730 units are possible if the Economic Development Corporation is successful in rezoning the full block African Burial Ground site, currently an MTA bus depot, at Second Avenue and 126th Street.

The Division of Homes and Community Renewal isn’t just about Rent Administration. It also might be involved in corrupt housing development schemes. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara has subpoenaed records to find out.

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